5 Reasons to be hopeful that we are finally at the point of taking serious action on climate change

When we watched David Attenborough’s latest Perfect Planet series and the series closure on Humans I had started watching that episode feeling that I would feel down by the end of it.  I was surprised to hear myself saying “well that gives reasons for hope”.  Why was that?

  1. The Shift

The narrative everywhere, not least from David Attenborough, has now shifted irreversibly from “is manmade climate change happening” to “these are the effects we are already seeing from climate change what more do we have to do prevent its worst effects”

  1. Proof

Until the world’s concerted response to COVID, we as individuals and our leaders could “hide behind” the thought “well we know we are heading for a catastrophe but what can we do about it” ?

Well now we have the answer, in 2020 we had the “largest absolute drop in emissions ever recorded”:

Global Carbon Project: Coronavirus causes ‘record fall’ in fossil-fuel emissions in 2020 | Carbon Brief

This was evident as soon as May 2020 after concerted action worldwide from April 2020:  Nature paper documenting the fall in CO2 emissions

So, if we really do believe that climate change is as serious as we are all saying to each other, then we know that concerted efforts of our leaders and us as global citizens can bring about the required change.

  1. Worth

Those who like to measure our progress and goals in £’s and pence now have the ways in which we can “value” the immense wealth of our natural resources.  When it comes to HM Treasury commissioning a review that “has authorised a full assessment of the economic importance of nature” we know that things are shifting irreversibly away from GDP being king:

Prosperity comes at ‘devastating’ cost to nature – BBC News


The Economics of Biodiversity The Dasgupta Review: Headline Messages (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Those investing long term such as the boss of Blackrock managing $8.7 trillion dollars of savers’ money now says “I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis – such a stark reminder of our fragility – that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives.”

Blackrock chief: ‘How Covid could help save the planet’ – BBC News

  1. Measurable

For those who are ready to move on the metrics of the 20th Century (of measuring everything in £’s and GDP) to metrics fit for the 21st Century, there is now an increasing movement that has approaches that measure success in nature’s own metrics.  

Kate Raworth’s 5 minute video below describes how we can now measure the carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere…. we can measure the depletion of the ecosystems …. we can measure the health of humans, our nutrition … our self reported level of happiness.  So, we can measure the welfare of people and planet in natural and social metrics on the terms of life itself:

Interview with Kate Raworth at Trees as Infrastructure Workshop on Vimeo

So, where are we heading?  I loved this summary from Janine Baynus at the end of her 20 minute summary on what we can learn from biomimicry, about it being time for humans to be humble and learn from nature and not to feel our role is to dominate it:   “The answers we seek.  The answers to a sustainable world are literally all around us.  If we chose to truly mimic life’s genius the future I see would be beauty and abundance, and certainly fewer regrets.  

In the natural world the definition of success is the continuity of life.  You keep yourself alive and you keep your offspring alive. That’s success.  

But it’s not the offspring in this generation.  Success is keeping your offspring alive 10,000 generations and more.  And that presents a conundrum because you are not going to be there to take care of your offspring 10,000 generations from now.  So what organisms have learned to do is to take care of the place, that’s going to take care of their offspring.  Life has learned to create conditions that are conducive to life.

That’s the design brief for us now.  We have to learn how to do that.  And luckily we are surrounded by the answers, millions of species willing to gift us of their best ideas”:

That’s of course not to say that it’s going to be easy going forwards.  While we can plan how we need to change our lives, we will need to make some sacrifices.  We’ve done that in the way we have collectively addressed COVID.  As Mark Kearney highlights the consequences of not taking action are “When you look at climate change from a human mortality perspective, it will be the equivalent of a coronavirus crisis every year from the middle of this century, and every year, not just a one-off event. So it is an issue that needs to be addressed now.”

Mark Carney: Climate crisis deaths ‘will be worse than Covid’ – BBC News

  1. Next Generation

The final, and for me most significant, reason to be hopeful is that the post millennium generation gets this.  The leadership Greta Thunberg has shown has empowered a generation not just to sit back and received perceived wisdom from their elders.  Instead they are the ones showing leadership:

Greta Thunberg on credibility of Boris Johnson’s ‘so-called green industrial revolution’ | The Independent

Action starts at home and we invite you to join Hook Norton Low Carbon on the journey we started in 2008, whether it’s insulating your home and moving to a heat pump, moving to electric vehicles, being part of community projects, or taking advantage of a co-working space in the village to embed the positive changes during the COVID pandemic.

Tim Lunel – contact info@hn-lc.org.uk (or tel 07908-754141)